The Minneapolis Court of Appeals has ruled that former Minneapolis Police Department Officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao can be charged with aiding and abetting the third-degree murder of George Floyd. Moving forward, the case will be sent back to Judge Peter Cahill, who previously denied prosecutors' attempt to add these charges in February.
Kueng, Thao and Lane's former colleague, Derek Chauvin, was sentenced by Cahill last week to 22.5 years in prison. He had previously been convicted of the following crimes: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Given that Chauvin has been convicted of third-degree murder, prosecutors have argued successfully that Lane, Thao and Kueng should also be tried with aiding and abetting the crime.
In addition to a potential charge of aiding and abetting third-degree murder, the three former officers also face the following charges: aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Thus far, all three former officers have pleaded not guilty to the charges filed against them. The trio is set to stand trial for these charges in March 2022.
At the federal level, Chauvin, Kueng, Lane and Thao also face charges for violating Floyd's civil rights. Adding on, Chauvin faces federal charges for an incident in which he is accused of violating the civil rights of a Black teenager in 2017. Chauvin is set to be arraigned for those charges on September 17. However, trial dates have not been set in either case because federal charges are not subject to time restraints under the Speedy Trial Act. None of the four officers have filed pleas for the aforementioned federal charges.
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